February 27, 1944

From February 23-27th Willis travelled by boat to Hawaii.  As the letters could not be sent, he wrote them in a series and sent them when he arrived.  

Sunday 2/27/44

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:-

Yesterday afternoon’s sailing was beautiful and the waters of the Pacific were such a beautiful deep blue. Later in the afternoon we ran into several rain squalls and that gave us the opportunity to see several rainbows. Before going to bed last night I stayed up on the top deck alone and watched the new moon peeking in and out among a few drifting clouds. Our ship seems to glide along so gracefully through the water. It all seemed to be like a dream. I wish you could have seen it for I know you would have enjoyed

Yank Magazine February 1944.

such splendor. Beholding all these things made me very conscious of the presence of God. I went to bed around 10 P.M. and had a very good nights sleep. I got up early this morning and went up to the top deck to watch the sunrise. It was indeed beautiful. In the east could be seen a rim of dark gray clouds and a few puffy white clouds drifting overhead-these turned to the most beautiful gold you could imagine just before the sun appeared from behind the dark gray clouds in the far east. In the far west and south could be seen several small rain squalls. As I looked to the sunrise I thought of you Dear and how much I love you and how much you mean to me. The same scene that was just rising on us was already at noon day where you were. I tried to imagine you just leaving church and talking to some of our many friends at North Shore. When you see any of our friends be sure to give them my love and best wishes.

There are to be several services aboard ship this morning-three Catholic, three Protestant and the Jewish service was yesterday morning. I will not write you anymore now until after services.

I went to all three Protestant services this morning and was rather disappointed because the most real gospel that was heard was the messages in the hymns and the prayer of one chaplain in one of the services. Darling, pray for a real concern on the behalf of the Chaplains. I know there are many men on this boat who have no saving knowledge whatsoever of the finished work of Christ for all men. It is a great encouragement to me to know you are continually praying for me and my work among the men. As you know, my whole desire is to truly represent Christ and lead others to Him. God bless you my Darling. I will write you more later.

I led a devotional service for the Protestants aboard this morning. I used as my text Acts 20:28 to the end of the chapter. The key verse was Acts 20:28.

It is growing much warmer and tomorrow I think I’ll dress in my fatigues.

I think I’ll close this letter and start another. It has been a week tomorrow since I received a letter from you and I have read your last few letters several times. I’m continually thanking God for your love and devotion which are always an inspiration to me.

 Always and only yours in Christ’s

redeeming love,

Willis

XOXOXOXOXO

Colossians 3:3

Philippians 1:3 forever

February 26, 1944

From February 23-27th Willis travelled by boat to Hawaii.  As the letters could not be sent, he wrote them in a series and sent them when he arrived.  

Presumably : February 26, 1944

4 – This is surely a beautiful Saturday morning. The sun is shining and only a few drifting clouds can be seen on the horizon. The ocean is quite calm this morning and only once in a while can you feel any rocking of the ship. The sun is becoming warmer and it is easy to tell we are getting into warmer climate. Lover, I was planning on writing some more last evening but they turned the lights out earlier than I expected so I was unable to finish what I had started to write you yesterday.

Men aboard a troop ship.

Sweetheart, since leaving the shores of the U.S.A. I have learned many things even though we have been aboard a ship.

I’ve noted so many things that will make good illustrations in messages to be used for young people and regular worship services.

Each day I am more convinced that Christ and His message is the only hope for our sin sick world. The condition of the world is only an indication of the disease of sin in the hearts and lives of men everywhere. The one ray of hope through all the turmoil and anxiety of this day is the assurance we have in God’s promise, “that He will even make the wrath of men praise His name.” My heart has been burdened  by the loose living of some who are supposed to be Christian gentlemen. I realize that there is many things in my life that are not pleasing to God, and my Dear I’m counting on your prayers for me as I daily live to let Christ have control in all the avenues of my being. All our professions of Christ are canceled by one deed of contrary and lose-living. I sincerely believe the hour has struck for a living that speaks of the fact that a man is a servant of God. So many are celebrating what Jesus did but very few are willing to surrender themselves to Christ to the extent of obeying His commandments. Jesus said the only proof of love to God was to obey His commands. And in the truest sense of the word we only have faith in the extent we obey Christ in our lives. Well my Dear, I’ll close for now and write you more later. God bless you, I love you so very much because you are such a consecrated Christian wife. And you are a constant source of inspiration to me to live as godly a life as is possible through true consecration.

February 25, 1944

From February 23-27th Willis travelled by boat to Hawaii.  As the letters could not be sent, he wrote them in a series and sent them when he arrived.  We are posting the sections on the dates he wrote them.

Troop ship carrying troops to war.

Presumably : February 25, 1944

Crossed the International Date line, so dates get a bit confusing

Sweetheart, My Dear:-

Dawn broke a little before seven this morning. I went above as soon as I had shaved. We have a solid overcast and the ocean is still rather rough. But it was roughest around midnight. In spite of our ship’s size she was tossed quite freely by the great waves. We had a very good breakfast and after coming back to my stateroom I read “My Utmost,” “The Secret Place,” the Bible and “Abundant Living.” Well Darling, I’ll write you more later, for now I want to do some more reading of my Bible.

February 24, 1944

From February 23-27th Willis travelled by boat to Hawaii.  As the letters could not be sent, he wrote them in a series and sent them when he arrived.  

Presumably : February 24, 1944

My Dearest Darling:-

After a good nights sleep I think I’ll drop you a few lines. Our cargo is all loaded and they have loaded all of our troops. We are

Troop Transport.

supposed to sail at 1300. The sunrise was very beautiful this morning. The higher mountains were covered with many feet of snow and these last views of the U.S.A. will linger long in my heart. Our ship inspires confidence by her very appearance. It may be of interest to you that this is her maiden voyage and is a wonderful example of Yankee engineering and ingenuity. Our ship has been out on a shake down cruise-but this is her first voyage fully loaded.

We have been out 4 hours and 45 minutes now and the last silhouette of the U.S. has disappeared into the waters of the mighty Pacific. All we can see everywhere is water. For the last hour or so we have been in rather heavy seas. Our boat being large and well stabilized has cut much of the lurching of the smaller ships. However, there has been enough motion to make some of the troops and passengers seasick. We blacken out the ship at sunset and all lights are put out in state rooms-so that means early to bed. I will close for now my Darling, but remember as the miles grow that separate us my love increases for you. God bless you today my Dear.

Forever yours in Christ’s abundant love,

Willis

XOXOXOXOXO

Colossians 3:3

February 23, 1944

From February 23-27th Willis travelled by boat to Hawaii.  As the letters could not be sent, he wrote them in a series and sent them when he arrived.  We will be posting them on the day they were written.

February 23, 1944

Dearest Darling Sweetheart:-

Troop Ship.

I’ve been thinking of you a whole lot today my Dear, and as you know I love you more than ever. I’m continually praising God for you and your precious love. The assurance of Christ’s love for us and the joy and beauty of your love is a combination which gives a piece of heart in face of the unknown future. Thank God that all our tomorrows are known to Him and if we are trusting as we ought, the future still has the best yet to be.

We arrived by train and bus at the Port and loaded on our boat. We had our first meal aboard at 4:00 P.M. and because of no sleep the night before I went to bed at 7:30 P.M. Well Lover, I’ll close for now but remember tonight I am more in love with you than ever before. God bless you my Dearest in all things.

Yours and yours alone in the wonderful

love of the Lord Jesus Christ,

Willis

XOXOXOXO

Colossians 3:3

Ruth 1:16-18

“My Utmost” is surely good these last few days, isn’t it Dear?

September 29, 1943

9/29/43

Nearing Ogden, Utah

Gal 2:20

Good Morning Darling:-

Just had breakfast and the scenery is surely beautiful. I had a very good night’s sleep. Got up at 5:15 A.M. This day finds me loving you more and grateful to our Heavenly Father for giving me such a wonderful wife and companion. It looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day.

With All of My Love,

Willis


2nd Postcard of the day

9/29/43

Nearing Lund, Utah

Romans 12:1-2

Sweetheart:-

Darling, I’ve seen a lot of dry country. And I’m thinking of you and loving you more and more.

With All of My Love,

Willis


9/30/43

Nearing San Bernadino

Dearest Sweetheart:-

It is another beautiful day and we are going through quite a maintenance district now. We are suppose to be in L.A. in a little less than three hours. This afternoon will be a busy one getting settled, but if at all possible I’ll write you a letter tonight. Dear, this is our 15 month anniversary and I love you more than can be realized with the finite mind. But God be praised, through Christ our love knows no bounds or limitations.

Yours ever in His Love,

Willis

John 10:10

Col 3:1-4

September 28, 1943

9/28/43

Nearing Omaha

 Dearest Sweetheart:-

We were 45 minutes late out of Chicago – a man was hurt getting through the gate and it necessitated holding the train. We are about  2 hours late now, but the train is really rolling as I’m sure you can tell by my poor writing. Darling, the only difference time & distance make, is that I love you more than ever.

Your’s ever in Christ’s All glorious Love,

Willis

Col 3:3


2nd postcard of the day

9/28/43

Out of Omaha

Sweetheart:-

I saw Verla in the station at Omaha. Don is going to try and see me at Columbus or Grand Island because he’s out on his run. Here’s hoping I get to see him. Verla was surely sweet and ask all about you. Well Darling, how happy I am to have you for my wife.

With All of My Love,

Willis

Psalm 91


3rd postcard of the day

9/28/43

Nearing North Platte, Nebraska

Phil 1:3

And chaps 3 and four

Sweetheart:-

Don Reed (Willis’ brother) is in the center. Taken during his first year as brakeman.

Don got on the train with me from Grand Island to Kearney. We had a good visit, all though very short. He looks good and likes railroading. I’m very hungry at present, haven’t had anything to eat as yet. I would enjoy some of your cooking or mom’s right now. Crops look pretty good here in Nebraska. The cloud formations are surely pretty today. More later Dear. Walt(?), the conductor and I have been having a real visit.

All of my Love,

Willis


4th  postcard of the day

9/28/43

Nearing Cheyenne

Provberbs 3:5,6

Sweetheart:-

I’ve just had a good dinner on the diner with the train crew. Walt (?) will soon be leaving me. It made me think of old times as I passed through familiar towns in Western Nebraska. It has surely been a pretty good day, so many beautiful cloud formations. I don’t see how anyone could ever doubt the Omnipresence, Omnipotence of God. The more I love you, the more I love and want to do for our Heavenly Father.

With all my Love,

Willis

September 24, 2017

Sarah and Willis – Late September 1943.

Willis finished with Chaplain training at Harvard University on September 23, 1943 and was immediately assigned to Long Beach, California and was to report on September 30th.  Because this train route was to take him through Chicago, Willis was blessed to be able to spend a few precious days with Sarah.  This means that we don’t have any letters from the 24th through the 27th.  Willis and Sarah had a few pictures taken during this short visit, which we will share here and in the gallery over the next few days.

Rejoin the Journey on the 28th and follow Willis as he sends a series of postcards from train depots on the way to Long Beach and then struggles to find his battalion.